Here comes the snow!

Le texte français suit.

With the arrival of snow and ice in Ottawa, our 2015 paddling season has officially drawn to a close. It’s always sad when the rivers freeze over, but it also gives us a bit of time to rest, to reflect and to think about what’s to come. It’s time to take a break from the water and get ready for the upcoming season! With the Gatineau Park just a ten minute drive away, cross-country skiing is my cross-training method of choice. Combined with swimming, yoga, weight lifting, running, some quality time on the kayak erg and a part-time job, days are busy and there’s never a dull moment. In between training, I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on the past year.

 

2015 has taken me to incredible places and given me infinite opportunities to learn and to grow, as a person and as an athlete. Starting up with an absolutely invaluable experience, yet a disappointing result in Brazil, and concluding with a great training camp in France, I have learned incredibly valuable skills and lessons, made new friends and have had the opportunity to work with amazing coaches. Including racing as a forerunner at the Pan-American games and winning a silver medal in my category at National championships, every challenge has made me open my eyes a bit more, pushing me to figure out where my gaps are in my training and lifestyle, and motivating me to continue to solve the puzzle of how to fill them. Each experience has helped fill in another piece. I have lots to work on, and I am so thankful for all the supportive people in my environment who have made 2015 so memorable. It has been a huge learning year for me and I can’t wait to carry these lessons forward with me. In the spring of 2016, we’ll head to Europe to seek warmer waters for a training camp, then fly home to get ready for U23 National Team Trials, taking place in Alberta on the Kananaskis River. I’m heading into 2016 feeling grateful, excited for what’s to come and confident with my plan for 2016.

 

Wishing everyone the best in 2016!

 

L’année 2015 m’a mené à plusieurs endroits incroyables et m’a fournie d’opportunités incessantes de grandir en tant qu’athlète qu’en tant que personne. Commençant par l’expérience inappréciable de voyager à Brésil et concluant par un camp d’entrainement merveilleux en france, j’ai appris des leçons de grande valeur, je me suis fait de nouveaux amis et j’ai eu la chance de travaillée avec des entraineurs géniaux. De participer en tant qu’athlète de démonstration aux Jeux Pan-Américains jusqu’à gagner le médaille d’argent au Championnat Canadien, chaque défi m’a aidé à me sensibiliser au sujet de mes faiblesses et mes forces, ce qui m’aide à développer un plan pour continuer de m’améliorer. Il me reste toujours des choses à travailler, et je tiens à remercier tous ceux qui m’ont aidé à faire de 2015 une année inoubliable. Cela a été une grosse année d’apprentissage, et j’ai hâte d’apporter ces expériences avec moi dans l’année 2016. Au mois de février, j’irai, avec l’équipe canadienne, en France pour un camp d’entrainement en préparation pour les sélections de l’Équipe Nationale qui aura lieu au mois de mai. Je débute l’année avec confiance dans mon plan  et de grandes attentes pour cette année.

Je vous souhaite une belle saison 2016!

Lessons learned in Pau, France

In October, I had the opportunity to travel to Pau, France, to train for three weeks under the direction of National head coach, Michal Staniszewski. It was inspiring to be sharing the course with Olympic medallists and a fun opportunity to soak in all the culture. In addition to the exciting opportunity to travel to a new country, it felt great to settle into a training routine once again.

Training camps are invaluable because they let us focus. Instead of being a student, employee and an athlete, our job during training camps is solely to work towards becoming the best athlete we can become. They provide an environment in which we are able to focus entirely on improving ourselves. We get the opportunity to spend our energy on fueling ourselves and working as hard as we can everyday.

Training camps at different sites provide us with new challenges. On each course, the water moves differently and requires a unique combination of aggressiveness, technique and patience. Unlike most of our courses in Canada, most European courses are artificial, meaning each feature has been designed and built from scratch specifically for that course. New features and new possibilities of combinations of moves force us into unfamiliar situations, adding to our repertoire of experience to draw from during future races.

Pau proved to be an ideal site for our fall training camp in Europe. Having a weight room located at the slalom course was a foreign luxury for those of us from Ottawa. With this incredible facility, a grocery store and the beautiful town of Pau all within walking distance from our hostel, it was the perfect setup to be able to train full tilt.

It was my first training camp overseas, and there were many, many lessons learned. Between learning how much baguette is too much baguette, to how to dig just a little bit deeper when I thought I couldn’t dig anymore, to how to paddle on a course that’s filled with 25 world-class athletes, I flew back to Canada with invaluable lessons learned and unforgettable memories.

I’m very thankful for Michal Staniszewski’s meticulous coaching, as well as for my teammates support and the fun, motivating environment they helped create. Huge thanks to James Cartwright for his support and organizational skills at CanoeKayakCanada.

Thanks to Michal Staniszewski for this action shot!
Thanks to Michal Staniszewski for this action shot!
Pau
Pau
Top view of the slalom course
Top view of the slalom course
Challenging features on the bottom section of the course
Challenging features on the bottom section of the course
Our rest spot for a long wait in the Toulouse airport
Our rest spot for a long wait in the Toulouse airport

It was an invaluable experience and I can’t wait to return!

 

Please put me back in the water